If there is something you think we can do better, i am sure that your opinion would be carefully considered. Please feel free to give us your suggestions. We want this to be an open and stimulating environment.
While I strongly approve of analysing the forum's strengths and weaknesses, I think that it would be much better for an outsider to do it. There's a huge list of positives there, and only a few minor weak points! With all due respect, it does read more like a list of why CHF is great, with a few token flaws listed for balance. Having said that, I do think that CHF is very good and I really do think it's commendable to take the step of self-analysis.
One point I'd like to mention, as someone who still feels quite like an outsider, is listed under strengths: "Excellent moderation and organization of forums."
I would agree that the moderation here does seem very good. I would not characterize the organization of forums as "excellent", however. The forums are certainly organized into a wide range of topics, and if that's what's meant by "organization of forums" then I would agree. However in terms of access to the wealth of information here, the forums are an impenetrable maze. I've been visiting this forum relatively often for probably a year now and still feel like a total beginner because the structure of the forum is simply too large and unwieldy for me to grasp. I think that this feature isn't noted by the older members, because they have a deep knowledge of the forum and where to find the information they need.
A lot of information is buried in old topics, many of which stretch to several pages of discussion. Actually finding that information is very difficult. This tends to stifle, in my opinion, newcomers from taking part and asking questions because they dread the "this was already answered four years ago in thread <x>". Older users do seem very helpful in pointing newcomers to these old threads, but it's a shame that this sort of service is required.
I suggested some time ago, in another thread, that a wiki approach to some of the frequently-requested information found in the forums could be adopted. There were some very negative reactions to that, and I accept that the consensus is for this to be purely a forum without trying to become something else. Nevertheless, I think that some form of extra organization or "reference" forums that link to other threads is necessary to prevent users spending fruitless hours digging in old threads for snippets of information. I personally think that this would contribute greatly to encouraging new users to keep coming back to the site.
I'm not sure if this is asking too much, but it would also be amazing to see some kind of email "keyword notification" available on the site. I was trying to follow the weekly poem translations, but can only follow each thread as it appears. Sometimes I miss it, and so have to keep checking back in case a new thread has been posted. It would be fantastic if there were some way to add a filter that says "email me when this word/phrase appears in a thread". It would be yet another way to manage the flood of information here, and would bring me back to the site more often.
Just some comments and suggestions! The last is a bit far-fetched, I know, but I think that a more approachable way to access information here is increasingly necessary in order to retain new users.